Pope Francis delivered a stinging blow to nativist conservatives bent on keeping illegal immigrants and Middle Eastern refugees out of the United States, saying Thursday in a landmark address to Congress that Americans should show compassion to immigrants of all stripes. ‘When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,’ the Roman Catholic pontiff said. ‘We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.’

Speaking in English – a language he has learned only recently – Francis also dropped coded messages to conservatives about gay marriage and abortion, and made an impassioned plea for a left-leaning approach to capital punishment in an unprecedented visit to Capitol Hill by a sitting Pope. ‘I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without,’ Francis told a packed House chamber filled with legislators, Supreme Court justices and multiple presidential candidates. FULL REPORT